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‘The Marvels’ Set Disney Back How Much?

Deadline details massive losses for the Mouse House's 2023 bombs

Disney couldn’t be happier that 2023 is in the rearview mirror.

The year saw the mega studio cut thousands of jobs and memory hole original shows like “Willow.” The company’s streaming service struggled for profitably, and the year paved the way for a public defeat at the hands of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The documentary “Walt’s Disenchanted Kingdom,” featuring this critic, captured some of the recent chaos around the company.

Walt’s Disenchanted Kingdom

The Mouse House just got a painful reminder of the year that was, courtesy of Deadline.

The venerable entertainment news site, which typically tries to defend Hollywood, pulled no punches in crushing the numbers this week. The article in question, “Disney Detonates Four Bombs In Deadline’s 2023 Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament,” says it all.

The numbers scream it even louder.

“The Marvels,” one of the biggest box office turkeys in recent years, leads the pack by costing its studio $237 million, according to the site’s trusted number crunchers.

The first film in the short-lived saga, 2019’s “Captain Marvel,” earned more than $1 billion worldwide on the heels of “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Marvel Studios' Captain Marvel - Official Trailer

The sequel, which featured a key figure from the Disney+ MCU universe, got a chilly reception from fans and tepid applause from critics. 

The film opened with a jaw-dropping $46 million – a far cry from what most MCU films make. The film topped off at $84 million domestic and $121 million from international sales.

Superhero films must earn much, much more to turn a profit.

“The Marvels'” budget stood at a reported $270 million, and that doesn’t include the massive marketing costs associated with a title of its size.

Deadline notes three other Disney titles also lost a not-so-small fortune last year, including “Haunted Mansion” ($117 million), “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” ($143 million) and “Wish” ($131 million).

Disney hopes 2024 offers a better balance sheet. The studio will deliver “Inside Out” 2 this summer, followed by “Moana 2” in November. Both titles bank on strong source material and tease out relatively fresh storylines.

Inside Out 2 | Official Trailer

A shakier bet is “Mufasa: The Lion King,” a prequel to the beloved 1994 movie directed by Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins. That drops days before Christmas.

Why the cloudy outlook?

The Disney brand isn’t what it used to be, and audiences could be tiring of quasi-live-action tales spun from the studio’s IP factory.

Last year’s “Little Mermaid” live-action update earned a solid $298 million stateside but stumbled overseas compared to previous Disney titles ($271 million).


  1. The stinker Eternals is the worst movie I have ever seen in my life. 2 hours and 36 minutes of my life I can never get back…

  2. No one goes to a movie to be indoctrinated. Get back to entertainment and leave politics the hell out of entertainment. When will you people learn that the people who really go to these movies are the not audience you’re trying to please. All that audience that you’re trying to please does is complain so you conform. They don’t support your product. They’re a small minority and what has happened is you’re turned off the rest of the world with this nonsense.

  3. 2024 will not be better with the advance notice that Inside Out has emotions that kids might not identify with (Anxiety). Should be a Mel Brooks comedy (High Anxiety). Deadpool 3 already has their main stars fighting Disney for integrity. We might get a cringy girl power scene similar to Endgame. Whatever.

  4. Although she is a pretty good actress, it’s hard to imagine a less-likeable movie star than Brie Larson.
    Likeability makes a big difference when trying to market a movie. If you look at the movie stars who consistently brought in bank in the 70s, 80s and 90s, they were all likeable – Arnold, Mel, Stalone, Bruce, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock. And that’s why the old studio system, who would sign actors to multi-picture deals, worked so hard to cultivate the images of their investments and protect them from scandals.

    1. I have to agree. Not only was Brie unlikable, by so was the actor playing Monica Rambau. Only Ms. Marvel was remotely interesting.

      The story didn’t make a ton of sense. Captain marvel destroyed the central computer…and that caused the Kree star to fizzle out? How does that….work? And then she-restarts the star? But if she is that powerful…how then does the villain stand up to her? Things that should be easy were hard, and things that were hard were shown to be easy. The powers of all three main characters were confused, and malleable. Like new power were invented and then forgotten about.

      Honestly, they list their powers as follows: Carol Danvers’ Superpower Makes Her the Strongest Avenger. She has the ability to create and manipulate cosmic energy, fly, and utilize several superhuman enhancements that dramatically increased her strength, durability, and speed. Very generic.

      The villain was also just…awful. Not sure where they found the 16-year-old girl they asked to play her.

    2. Good point. If I was running a movie studio, I would require all actors/actresses/staff to sign “social media” contracts. Ones that demand the studio review every single thing they plan to post. Give them talking points to all interviews with instructions to avoid all political subjects. Focus only on the content they are making and nothing else. Coach them to avoid pitfalls the interviewer might try to catch them up on. Nothing but friendly and positive discussions.

      But studio heads aren’t that smart so never going to happen.

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